Ask A Bulletsmith – If you could own only one firearm which one would you choose?

We asked a few handy Sierra Bullets Bulletsmiths the impossible question: “If you could own only one firearm which one would you choose?” Check out their answers below.  We would love to hear from you too, please share your response in the comments below.

Media Relations Manager Carroll Pilant answered “I would NEVER own only one gun. If I HAD to pick one, it would be a drilling in 12 gauge over 30-06.”

Ballistic Technician Rich Machholz answered “The early tang safety Ruger M77s pretty much have all you could want in a bolt gun, but I do like the Winchester lever guns and the combination guns, particularly the drillings.  Since I have the first two, I’m going for a Doug Turnbull 1886 or a side by side 20 gauge over 223 drilling.”

Ballistic Technician Philip Mahin answered “More than likely it would have to be a bolt action 30-06. The reliability is legendary on a wide range of game animals and factory ammunition has still been available at my local stores even in these tough times.”

Ballistic Technician Duane Siercks answered “If I had to boil it all down to one gun, it would probably be a 30-06. I have a Remington 700C (custom shop gun) that has worked very well for anything and everything I have ever wanted to do with it.”

Ballistic Technician Paul Box answered “A .22 Rimfire”

Chief Ballistician Tommy Todd answered Remington 700 in 308 Winchester”

VP – Sales & Marketing Matt Reams answered “A light weight Kimber in 25-06.”

Production Toolsetter Brad Vansell answered Savage weather warrior 7mm-08 is my rifle of choice.”

Process Engineer David Palm answered Savage action 243 Winchester

Ballistic Technician Gary Prisendorf answered “Probably a 22 LR. It may not be the best choice, but you could use it for about anything if you really had to.”

Production Manager Chris Hatfield answered Beretta A300 Outlander 12 ga”

Machine Shop Manager Craig Westermier answered 12 gauge shotgun”

Production Toolsetter Dan Mahnken answered “The .308 Winchester rifle. The wide range of bullets made and the wide range of things that one can hunt with it.”

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16 Responses to Ask A Bulletsmith – If you could own only one firearm which one would you choose?

  1. nadarnell says:

    Carroll and I agree. The 30-06 with a 311291 cast bullet is great for rabbits, squirrels, and a host of other animals including deer.

    The 12 gauge is great for all our feathered friends and with slugs will take down buffalo. Makes a great home defense gun.

    The only problem is the weight and swinging ability of a drilling with the 12 gauge on the top and the 30-06 on the bottom. But ammunition is available everywhere.



  2. Danny East says:

    Bolt action in 30/06. After all, Col. Townsend Whelen stated “The 30/06 is never a mistake”.


  3. firstriverbend says:

    I have to agree with Carroll Pilant!
    While I am not the greatest fan of a drilling, it is the best answer for this question!
    The 30-06 over 12 gauge is the best cartridge choice also, as these are the two most versatile rounds ever made.
    30-06 can be loaded down to an accurate, yet quiet and soft shooting round for small game by using a 110 grain bullet or even a cast lead bullet at 78 grains, by resizing .313 diameter pistol bullet down to .309. This over a enough Bullseye or Red Dot, 3-4 grains and some kapok or cotton fluff, to keep the powder in place, would give between 700-1000 fps and be extremely quiet. Good for squirrels, rabbit, turkey, etc… basically an enraged bigger bore .22. 🙂
    Of course loaded up to the other end will take down pretty much anything and have very long range to go with it.
    Likewise the same with a 12 gauge’s loads. All the way from very light birdshot to big bear stoppers with slugs!
    As for factory ammo, as anyone knows, there is a huge variety available for both, much more so than any other rounds out there.

    So this combo would be suitable for anything man or beast. Just kind of heavy to pack around.


  4. Pingback: Ask A Bulletsmith – If you could own only one firearm which one would you choose? — Sierra Bullets |

  5. Rifleman III says:

    Springfield Armory M1A1 National Match. Walnut stock. Accurized.


  6. I suppose an 06 would be a good choice, knockdown power, bullet selection etc. I would rather have a Savage 12 ga under a 223 , bullet availability – choice , selection, can get a chamber adapter for 222 or 22mag, etc. Single shot “makes” you account for each shot !


  7. Ron says:

    Can’t get my head around having only one gun but given the choice of 1 or none I’d have to agree with the Drilling in 12 ga. over .308.


  8. Ken P. says:

    My “Go to” for medium range is my Krico 640SS Bolt action with double set match trigger in .308 caliber. It has never failed to be spot on even when pushing the ballistic limits.


  9. James V. Laviana III says:

    As Rich, the Ruger 77 with tang safty in 30/06, which I already own!


  10. David Ruppel says:

    Model 700 in .243 would be my choice.



  11. Robert says:

    Well now …….. At 75 I have owned and loved guns since 9 years old. That said, I learned something today through several replies about the “the drilling” combo. The drilling combos were passed over by me when ever I thumbed though my Shooter’s Bible or other publications and I knew (remembered), large calibers under a shotgun were available. Before I posted this I Googled the drilling. A drilling (German for “triplet”) is a combination gun that has three barrels. I know another reason I passed over that section of drillings; Cost!
    I would join Technician Rich Machholz and select a 20 ga.X2 over a .223 (or .243).

    PS Now I know why drilling was not capitalized. It was not a brand name but a description of a gun
    with 3 barrels. See …… you can teach “Old Dogs” new tricks! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Joaquin Bustamante says:

    Winchester Model 70 Push-Feed, caliber .30-06.


  13. Joseph Garren says:

    If I only had one gun…..for me it would be a 22 Hornet, with the right bullet ( sierra 45gr #1310) and right placement, you can kill any thing from rabbit to moose.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Donald Turner says:

    My one gun only would probably be my Savage model 24J 30-30 12 gauge over under fitted with a 1.5 x 5 scope shooting everything from #8 birdshot to buckshot and slugs in the 12 and everything from 30-30 accelerator rounds and 125 gr. hollowpoints and 150 & 170 gr. hunting bullets in the 30-30.
    Don Turner 75 year old hunter from beautiful West Virginia.


  15. Thomas Weaver says:

    How about a Contender and 4-5 barrels! But if it came to 1 weapon I would choose a .22 magnum. Kind of outpaces the .22LR a bit with enough energy for some big game too. Ammo cost is reasonable and can carry a pocket full.


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